The Battle of the Sibyuan Sea happened in the Sibyuan Sea in the Philippines as one of the related
actions that comprised the Battle for Leyte Gulf.
The combatants were Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN) versus U. S. Navy (USN) plus carrier aircraft.
On October 24, 1944 at dawn the Japanese Navy "Central Force" First Mobile Striking Force under the command of Vice-Admiral Takeo Kurita entered the Sibyuan Sea bound for Leyte.
"Central Force" includes five battleships from BatDiv1: Musashi, Yamato, Nagato, Kongō, and Haruna plus ten heavy cruisers CruDivs 4 and CruDivs 5: Atago, Maya, Takao, Chōkai, Myōkō, Haguro, Kumano, Suzuya, Tone and Chikuma, plus two light cruisers: Noshiro and Yahagi: and DesRon 2 fifteen destroyers that would engage in the Battle of Leyte Gulf.
At 8:10am the Japanese force was spotted by a search aircraft from USS Intrepid (CV-11). Efforts to jam their radio were unsuccessful and the force was reported, starting the Battle of the Sibyuan Sea.
After receiving the report, Task Group 38.2 (TG 38.2) including USS Intrepid (CV-11) and USS Cabot (CVL-28) launch carrier aircraft against the Japanese force and make their first attacked by 10:30am claiming hits on Nagato, Yamato, and Musashi and badly damage Myōkō that withdraws to Coron Bay then back to Borneo.
A second wavy of attacks by carrier aircraft from USS Essex and USS Lexington scores 10 more hits on Musashi. A third wave of attacks from USS Enterprise and USS Franklin score more torpedo and bomb hits on Musashi. To avoid any further attacks, the "Central Force" reversed course to retreat away from US aircraft and Admiral Halsey assumed they were retreating.
During the attacks, Musashi was hit by at least nineteen torpedoes and seventeen bombs and was still afloat having withstood an amount of damage unsurpassed by any other warship of the era but finally capsized and sank at 7:53pm.
In total the USN 3rd Fleet flew a total of 259 sorties and focused on attacking Musashi and Myōkō but caused no other damage to rest of the "Central Force". At 5:15pm, the Japanese force turned eastward and cross the San Bernardino Strait overnight. On October 25, 1944 at dawn the "Central Force" was to the north of Samar Island and were again engaged during the Battle off Samar (Battle of Samar).
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October 24, 2019